The Trump campaign’s October surprise that was in the works, with John Durham “proving” that the 2016 campaign had been unfairly spied upon by the FBI may just have been blunted, if not rendered moot altogether. The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee just released it’s fifth and final report on Russia’s “aggressive, multifaceted effort” to interfere in the 2016 election on Donald Trump’s behalf. The report goes further than the Mueller report, in that it concludes that Trump “most likely did discuss Russia’s hack of Democratic National Convention emails before WikiLeaks released them.” And what that devolves into, is a description of the Trump campaign which makes clear both its utter ineptitude and why this administration’s rank amateurishness has harmed America’s standing in the world community. Daily Beast:
The report is most critical of the Trump campaign’s general incompetence and vulnerability to Russia during the transition toward the White House. It concludes that the Kremlin capitalized on the “relative inexperience” of Trump’s transition team—and the new president’s “ desire to deepen ties with Russia.”
“The lack of vetting of foreign interactions by Transition officials left the Transition open to influence and manipulation by foreign intelligence services, government leaders, and co-opted business executives,” the report states.
The “disorganized and unprepared” transition team also actively engaged with foreign actors, which “created notable counterintelligence vulnerabilities” and allowed “Russian officials, intelligence services, and others acting on the Kremlin’s behalf” to exploit Team Trump’s shortcomings. The team repeatedly took actions that sometimes interfered with U.S. diplomatic efforts, were not part of a visible overriding foreign policy and were “narrow and transactional, seeking outcomes on only a select set of issues.”
“This created unnecessary confusion among U.S. allies and other world leaders, creating the potential to harm America’s ability to conduct diplomacy both bilaterally and in multilateral institutions, and undermine U.S. credibility and influence.”
And the guilt of now-commuted sentence holder, Roger Stone, is further established as well.
The report also reveals that WikiLeaks most likely knew it was assisting Russian intelligence efforts when it hacked and released DNC emails in the lead up to the 2016 election in an effort to derail Hillary Clinton’s campaign. WikiLeaks “actively sought, and played, a key role in the Russian influence campaign,” the report says.
The report provides a detailed timeline of the release of the emails, which came about 30 minutes after the Washington Post’s now infamous October 7 story on Trump’s Access Hollywood tape. Roger Stone, who was in contact with WikiLeaks, had a six-minute call the night before with a phone number belonging to Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller. While the substance of the call is unknown, “it appears quite likely that Stone and Trump [using his bodyguard’s phone] spoke about WikiLeaks,” the report concludes.
The Trump campaign first heard of the tape about an hour before its release. Roger Stone called Jerome Corsi shortly before and, according to Corsi, told him to get WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange, who Stone had been in contact with, to “drop the Podesta emails immediately.”
This is yet another lengthy report, like the Mueller report, but hopefully Democratic officials and the Biden/Harris campaign will quote enough nuggets from it to remind people that Trump and his cronies have no qualms whatsoever about selling out this country to the Russians. They would do it again in 2020 and that’s assuming that they haven’t already. Even committee member Marco Rubio, while of course asserting Trump’s innocence in all this, noted that “what the Committee did find however is very troubling” and that it proved “irrefutable evidence of Russian meddling.”
Richard Burr, who was formerly the chairman of the committee, said this in the Washington Post:
“One of the Committee’s most important — and overlooked — findings is that much of Russia’s activities weren’t related to producing a specific electoral outcome, but attempted to undermine our faith in the democratic process itself,” he said in a statement. “Their aim is to sow chaos, discord, and distrust. Their efforts are not limited to elections. The threat is ongoing.”
That is the bottom line and it’s sobering that it’s coming from a Republican. The threat is ongoing and the fact that we’re even discussing this, 77 days out from the election, while Trump is busy dismantling the post office, is stunning. 2016 was not a normal election, life since then has not been normal, and we need to get our country back. Now.